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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

252                     JOURNEYS IN PEESIA              FAREWELL

contact between landowner and peasant which is such
a desirable feature of proprietorship, but it leaves the
villages exposed to the exactions of the nasr, and without
a semblance of protection from the rapacious demands of
the provincial authorities. It is noteworthy that fortunes
made in trade are seeking investment in land.

The upper classes in Persia appear to me to differ
widely from Orientals, as they are supposed to be, and
often really are. They love life intensely, fill it with
enjoyment, and neither regard existence as a task to be
toiled through nor as a burden to be got rid of. Hand-
some, robust, restless, intelligent, imaginative, accumu-
lative, vivacious, polished in manner and speech, many of
them excellent linguists, well acquainted with their own
literature, especially with their poets; lavish, alike in
expenditure on personal luxuries and in charity to the
poor; full of artistic instincts, and loving to surround
themselves with the beautiful; inquisitive, adaptable;
addicted to sport and out-of-doors life, untruthful both
from hereditary suspiciousness and excess of courtesy—
the Persian gentleman has an individuality of his own
which is more nearly akin to the French or Eussian than
to the Oriental type.

My impressions of the morals both of the Persian
peasantry and the Bakhtiari Lurs are, as to some points,
rather favourable than the reverse, and I think and hope
that there is as much domestic affection and fidelity as is
compatible with a religion which more or less effectually
secures the degradation of woman. The morals of the
upper classes are, I believe, very easy. In various care-
fully written papers, one of them at least official, very
painful glimpses have been given incidentally into the
state of Persian upper-class morality, and undoubtedly
the intrigues of the andarun are as unfavourable to
purity as they are to happiness^.